If you are determined to enhance your professional standing, network with the best in your industry and spot opportunities, then you need to be on LinkedIn. If you’re too busy to actively engage with opportunities, LinkedIn can bring them to you through your CV. But remember, it’s very easy to get it wrong and do more damage than good. Follow the below suggestions and you will reap the rewards.
Presentation is paramount, so start your profile overhaul with a tidy-up.
Don’t be an avatar
A smart profile photo is the first thing that’s expected of you. Your profile is as much as 21x more times more likely to be viewed if you’ve included a professional looking profile picture. You will also receive 9x more connection requests and 36x more messages.
Display your accomplishments and skills
Your LinkedIn profile should give the reader a quick overview of your strengths, skills and unique attributes at a glance So, include a couple of paragraphs in your profile summary, using keywords such as ‘skilled’ and ‘passionate’ to help describe your performance and help you stand out while re-considering using some of so-called buzzwords – check the full list here.
Also, include salient facts and figures that detail recent accomplishments. If you’re a little short on these then elevate your profile with endorsements and recommendations from others. A few kind words from a respected and successful individual can go a long way in validating your employability.
Don’t be afraid to be you
Your LinkedIn profile gives you the ability to let your personality shine. Make your profile interactive and vibrant by including rich media (presentations and professionally-relevant videos) detailing past projects. You can also add a personalised LinkedIn profile banner to add further personality.
When completing the summary and experience sections of your profile, we recommend referring to yourself in the first person, doing otherwise can often seem impersonal and insincere.
Give a clear insight into your personality by being very clear about what it is that you’re interested in and what drives you. A pithy headline at the top of your page is a good place to start.
Speak the language of your profession
Remember that, as well as being a professional social network, LinkedIn is a powerful people search engine. Searching for and connecting with new contacts is one of the most popular activities on the site, and this includes employers and recruiters searching for prospective candidates.
Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter or your desired employer. What keywords might they be searching for and how? Google Keywords is useful if you are trying to understand what terms employers might be using to locate candidates. Incorporate these words into the summary, experience and skills sections of your LinkedIn profile to increase your chances of being found by the right people.
Present the most up to date version of yourself
Recruiters often search for new candidates by searching for their ‘Current position’ so include relevant words in this box, even if you’re not currently in employment. Updating your current position can lead to 8x more profile views. If you’re not yet employed, not to worry — adding in your education will get you 17x more messages from recruiters.
Also, don’t forget to update your industry – this will unlock up to 9x more profile views and also help you surface news and information via your LinkedIn newsfeed that will help you stay informed.
Lastly, update your location on your LinkedIn profile. This will help you be discovered for local opportunities and will make you up to 23x more likely to be found in LinkedIn searches.
A feature called ‘Open Candidates’ makes it easier to connect with your dream job by privately signalling to recruiters that you’re open to new job opportunities. You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in, and be easily found by the hundreds of thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find great professional talent. Our data shows that members who have switched on their ‘Open Candidates’ setting are twice as likely to receive relevant opportunities from recruiters.
Keep a regular eye on your InMail on LinkedIn for any messages. Responding to any potential opportunities promptly is important for managing those all-important first impressions.
Be as active on LinkedIn as makes sense for you – be it hourly, or daily – but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Active members of the LinkedIn community sharing relevant updates and insights are more likely to get noticed by recruiters and other professionals looking to expand their network.
Share articles and engage in debates regularly. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 different groups, so join as many relevant groups as you can effectively engage in. Publishing posts is another good way to get noticed, but make sure the content is pertinent and provocative to the people that you have connected with. Bland posts are more harmful to your brand than not posting at all.
Reach out to other people in your network who occupy similar positions to yourself or roles that you are looking to progress into and give them a reason to connect. This is a good way to gain recognition in your community. Again, the key is relevancy. Getting too many declined connection requests can result in your profile being restricted.
The more active you are on LinkedIn the more likely you are to benefit from it. Build a strong personal brand and then make sure you’re sharing relevant content, continuing to build out your network, and actively engaging in the relevant LinkedIn Groups
About this author
Maureen joined Hays in 2000 where she specialised in Senior Accounting and Finance recruitment. With over 17 years’ experience, Maureen is the Director for Cork, Limerick and Galway along with over overseeing the Banking and Construction & Property operations in Cork. She also provides training expertise in the area of candidate screening and interviewing.